'Not fit for purpose': Councillor's push for redevelopment after huge West Bromwich fire

A councillor representing the West Bromwich ward in which a huge fire blazed has warned that the area needs to be redeveloped to protect local residents.

The fire at a recycling centre on Kelvin Way in West Bromwich
The fire at a recycling centre on Kelvin Way in West Bromwich

Councillor Pam Randhawa represents the Greets Green and Lyng ward of West Bromwich, where the inferno took hold at a recycling centre in Kelvin Way on Friday afternoon.

Black smoke billowed in the sky and could be seen from as far away as Birmingham, Telford, and even Worcester.

Drone photo by Adam Foley

While West Midlands Fire Service confirmed that the fire is now surrounded and under control, locals are still being advised to keep their doors and windows firmly shut.

Councillor Randhawa was inundated with calls on Friday from petrified residents who live in the area, many of whom are disabled or can't speak English.

The councillor is concerned about the ageing industrial infrastructure in her ward which is "not fit for purpose" and says that something must change.

Councillor Pam Randhawa

Pam Randhawa told the Express & Star: "I have received a lot of calls from concerned residents and businesses within the vicinity of the fire at a local recycling plant.

"I have tried to visit but it has been very difficult due to traffic issues.

"Residents are concerned at the high level of fumes and toxins which have been discharged into the air.

"They are worried about their washing, children not allowed to play in the back gardens or go for their usual evening walk.

"It is clear from this incident that the area needs to be redeveloped as the buildings are currently old and dilapidated and not fit for purpose.

"New buildings and units need be developed and regulated to ensure safety of all local residents, schools, businesses and the environment as the toxins and fumes will cause further risk in the atmosphere."

The fire at a recycling centre on Kelvin Way in West Bromwich

The councillor also said: "The public need reassurance as their safety is the priority at the moment.

"The council's resilience team are supporting currently and advising doors and windows are kept closed.

"Local councillors are supporting disabled residents and the vulnerable through this unfortunate incident and continue to reassure those that have contacted.

"I am supporting residents with useful contact numbers and advice for those who need it by mobile contact.

"I will be available all weekend to support our residents in the ward."

She also said: "West Midlands Fire Service are doing a fantastic job. The emergency services are working very hard to control the fire and stop it spreading further."

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